In our regular TrumpWatch section, we look at another week of Donald Trump’s America. This week, Trump’s relations with Russia have soured. But that hasn’t led to him getting along better with any other countries.
This is how his fifth week played out.
18 February – Accountability
- Vice President Mike Pence said that the US stands with NATO. He also promised that Russia will be held “accountable” for Ukraine. But he also repeated Trump’s stance that the US may not support NATO countries that do not contribute enough to defence.
- A report leaked saying that the intelligence community was withholding information from Trump. Trump allegedly yelled at CIA director Mike Pompeo over these claims. The CIA and White House denied that this incident took place.
- The FBI is pursuing at least three probes relating to Russian hacking during the election.
19 February – Last night in Sweden
- Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida. Presidents usually stop campaigning after they’ve won the presidency, so this was unusual. During the event, he appeared to refer to a terrorist incident which had happened in Sweden the previous evening. But no such incident had taken place. Trump later claimed he’d heard about it on Fox News:
My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2017
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- The Republican senator and former presidential nominee John McCain criticised Trump’s branding of the media as ‘enemies of the people’. He said that attitude was: “how dictators get started”. Trump’s defence secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis also distanced himself from Trump’s statement.
20 February – Oil
- General H.R. McMaster replaced General Flynn as the National Security Adviser (NSA). Flynn resigned after misleading the Vice President over phone calls he’d made to Russia. Prominent Trump critic John McCain holds McMaster in high regard.
- Defence secretary James Mattis contradicted Trump on Iraq. He said: “we’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil”. Since taking office, however, Trump has said: “we should have kept the oil. Maybe we’ll have another chance.”
- Media outlets reported that Russia is compiling a psychological dossier on Trump for Putin. The preliminary conclusion is that Trump is a naive risk-taker.
21 February – Cooking the books
- Trump publicly denounced antisemitism. It was in response to increasing threats against Jewish institutions. The Anne Frank Centre, however, dismissed Trump’s speech. Furthermore, it said his “sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of antisemitism that has infected his own Administration”.
- It was revealed that the Trump’s transition team had ordered [paywall] the Council of Economic Advisers to misleadingly fill their models to predict 3%-3.5% growth.
- Also revealed was that Steve Bannon had told Germany’s ambassador to Washington that the EU was flawed. He also allegedly said that the US would prefer to deal with EU countries directly rather than as a full bloc. This is at odds with how the EU operates, and contradicted the message Pence would later give.
- The Washington Post‘s analysis of Trump’s first month showed he had spent [paywall] four times as much time playing golf as having security briefings. People consequently drew attention to Trump’s previous criticisms of Obama:
Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
22 February – Rights
- Trump rescinded the protections for transgender students which meant they could use bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity.
- A former campaign staffer spoke of how they babied candidate Trump to prevent him losing his temper.
- A Republican senator called for ex-NSA Mike Flynn to testify on his Russian ties before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
23 February – Deconstruction
- It was reported that the White House asked the FBI to publicly dismiss claims that Trump’s associates had communicated with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. The FBI rejected this request.
- Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump’s key adviser and former Breitbart boss Steve Bannon described Trump’s agenda as: “deconstruction of the administrative state”.
- Trump ‘clarified‘ his position on nuclear weapons: “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack”.
24 February – Enemies of the people
- Speaking at the CPAC, Trump doubled down on the claim he’d made days before about certain media outlets being the “enemy of the American People”.
– Read more TrumpWatch articles.
Featured image via Pixabay
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